Partner and Founder, Jean-Georges Restaurants/Suarez Restaurant Group LLC (New York, NY)
Born and raised in Washington Heights in New York City, Phil Suarez is legendary in both the restaurant and production industries. His extensive experience in the entertainment industry led to a natural transition into the restaurant business, saying, “It was like going from one theatre to another. I loved that I could translate the art of production into another realm equally thrilling to me as music and television.” In 1980, he opened his first restaurant, Positano, evoking the flavors of its eponymous coastal village and paved the way for Suarez’s relationship with internationally renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. In 1991, the two opened JoJo, a contemporary French atelier that went on to earn sterling accolades, including three stars from The New York Times and the title of 1992 “Restaurant of the Year” from Esquire magazine.
Suarez was instrumental in the openings of Jean Georges, Gigino Trattoria and Mercer Kitchen in New York City, as well as Prime Steakhouse at the Bellagio and Jean Georges Steakhouse at the Aria, in Las Vegas. Subsequent years would see the opening of acclaimed restaurants like Perry St and Spice Market, a temple of Southeast Asian street food in New York; Market in Boston, MA and Buckhead, GA; J&G Steakhouse in Scottsdale, AZ and Washington, DC; the Pump Room in Chicago, IL; Kauai Grill in Hawaii; FERN in Bahia Beach, Puerto Rico; The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges; ABC Kitchen, at ABC Home Furnishings (winner of Best New Restaurant in America 2011 from the James Beard Foundation); and ABC Cocina, at ABC Home Furnishings.
Among the proudest moments of Suarez’s illustrious career is being nominated by the James Beard Foundation as Outstanding Restaurateur of 2011 and 2012 and again in 2013. Crain’s New York Business counted him among their 100 Most Influential Business Leaders in 2002 and then again in 2003 as one of their 100 Most Powerful Minority Business Leaders. Phil’s most recent endeavor is the Inn at Pound Ridge by Jean-Georges. Opened in early 2014 in Pound Ridge, NY, the fare is local, farm-to-table American cuisine in a rustic-chic setting. Equal parts imagination, professionalism and class, Phil Suarez is a respected member of the dining community and one of its most accomplished leaders.